From Young Riders to Grand Prix, Sunday was a superb showcase of talent on the grass. The $30,000 Blenheim June Classic I Grand Prix, presented by SmartPak, challenged twenty horse and rider pairs, with only two jumping clean. Double clear and impressively fast, John Pearce and Karen Ball’s Chantico claimed their first grand prix win.

From a tight time allowed to a challenging outside line at 5, 6ab, to a ‘stout’ SmartPak vertical at fence 7, and a triple combination leading to a light vertical at the end of the course, Anderson Lima of Brazil asked plenty of questions within his track of 16 obstacles. Half of the riders in the class ended their rounds with time faults, with a heartbreaking score of one time fault for Kristin Hardin and Nicole Teague’s Firestone S, who ultimately finished third.

Two riders finished the challenging course fault free. Peter Petschenig aboard one of his three entries, the talented gray Colour Your Life, was first up for the jump-off. Wanting to set the pace yet jump clean, he was efficient and stopped the clock without a fault in 47.14.

No stranger to taking risks for the win in a jump-off, veteran Pearce knew what he had to do to take the lead aboard the 11-year-old Chantico. Very quick over the first three elements, he steadied slightly and made a smooth slicing turn to the next oxer. Leaving out a stride in the last line, Pearce beat Petschenig by several seconds, clean in a time of 43.36. With the win, Pearce and Chantico also took home the SmartPak “Fastest Time in the West” award, which included a $500 SmartPak gift certificate.

Pearce was complimentary of Lima’s track. “I’m a big fan of this course designer, and I’m not saying that just because I won today. It wasn’t huge, but it was a tight time allowed. He doesn’t make it too tight to where you can’t get it done, but he makes you pay attention.”

And the victory was especially sweet for this young and tricky grand prix mount. “This was his first Grand Prix win. He has been doing them for about a year, which has been hit and miss due to being green, but he is starting to come along. I have him in a new bit that I love and he is finally starting to grow up. He is a lot more solid, rideability wise. He is starting to mature, which is nice, because I really miss my old horse, Chianto.”

Pearce plans to “enjoy sunny Southern California” for the summer while he establishes his business in San Diego County and continues to compete in the area.

$30,000 Blenheim June Classic I Grand Prix
Place – Entry – Name – Rider – Owner – Faults/Time
1. 545 – Chantico – John Pearce – Karen Ball – 0/0/43.36
2. 265 – Colour Your Life – Peter Petschenig – Pam Bilek And Peter Petschenig – 0/0/47.14
3. 425 – Firestone S – Kristin Hardin – Nicole Teague – 1/45.84
4. 260 – Cupilor – Michelle Parker – Cross Creek Farms, Inc. – 4/80.70
5. 274 – Camerino – Paul Rohrbach – Wells Bridge Farm – 4/82.15
6. 445 – NJK No Regret – Nicole Haunert – NJK Show Jumpers, Inc. – 4/82.95
7. 514 – Balu U – Lane Clarke – Georgy Maskrey-Segesman – 4/83.75
8. 641 – Concorde – Chris Pratt – Epic Group, LLC – 4/87.19
9. 804 – Amadeus – Devon Bridges – ACE Equestrian – 8/78.37
10. 318 – Thumb’s Up – Joie Gatlin – Linda Starkman – 8/81.31
11. 601 – Disaronno VT – Morgan Dickerson – Morgan Dickerson- 8/87.40
12. 137 – Apex – Harley Brown – Emma Reichow – 9/84.65